WATCH: Vigilantes in suburbia

2019-02-12 15:06
Police

Police

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Police are investigating a chilling vigilante attack on an unarmed burglary suspect, who was beaten and shot at, allegedly by a Scottsville resident.

The Witness reported on the incident last week and were told at the time that the suspect was trying to flee after being caught with stolen property. He was then hit by a car in Woodhouse Road and remains unconscious in ICU at a local hospital.

However, video footage has surfaced showing a different version of events, causing police to investigate the incident more closely.

The footage shows the man who was accused of theft sitting on the grass at the roadside, dressed in black pants and a grubby cream jersey.

He has a few cuts and bruises on his face already when the video begins.

The man filming the incident is thought to be the one who beat and shot at the suspected burglar in the video, but this cannot be confirmed at this stage.

The video starts with the man who is filming walking towards the burglary suspect.

“Hello boy, how are you,” he asks before whipping him with a sjambok. “I said how are you,” he says again before bringing the sjambok down again as the suspect calls out in pain, answering in a hoarse voice that he is fine.

The sjambok comes down again while the man rolls on his side, crying out in pain, trying to protect himself from the blows. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he can be heard saying as he is whipped and sworn at by the man filming the incident.

“I did not do anything, I did not steal from you,” he says, managing to get to his feet and trying to hold the end of the sjambok to avoid being hit again.

He does all this while weeping and pleading for the beating to stop.

The man believed to be filming then says, “You want to run? Leave that thing. Let me shoot you. Let me shoot you rather”.

“I didn’t steal from you. I am not going to run,” he pleads.

The response is, “Let me shoot you rather. Let me shoot you, let me shoot you again. Calm down,” the attacker can be heard saying.

The man can be heard crying, as he tries to back away from his attacker.

“You f***ing playing with me now,” says the attacker before a shot rings out.

A few seconds later, another shot is fired.

The attacker tells the man to get on the floor amidst a barrage of abuse and threats. The footage then shows the man staggering away from his attacker into the road, clutching his chest and tripping over his feet in an attempt to escape more beatings.

Then there is the screech of tyres and a thump as he is hit by a car.

The attacker can be heard saying: “No, he wanted to get knocked. He wanted to.”

The video then shows the man lying and groaning in the road as the local tells him to wake up and move, before the footage is cut.

A senior police official who saw the footage said the video was “disturbing”.

“They exceeded the force necessary to have executed an arrest. The suspect was non-violent and wasn’t a threat to anybody.

“[The suspect] could easily have been apprehended and handed over to the police.”

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said the man was arrested for housebreaking and is in hospital under police guard. He is still unconscious in ICU following Wednesday’s incident.

“We warned the members of the community not to take the law into their own hands but hand over the suspect to the police. Although there is no case opened by the suspect the matter will be investigated,” he said.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  vigilante
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